A Canada Revenue Agency scam as well as other scams continue to target Lloydminster residents.
The telephone based scam will appear as a local number on the person’s phone. They will pretend to be from the CRA or a Service Canada agent. They say the victim’s SIN number has been used for criminal purposes and the RCMP is investigating. They then ask the victim to either send them money or drop it off at a location.
Patty Wang, Manager of Loss Prevention and Recovery with Synergy Credit Union, says one in six Canadians are affected by fraud and losses through fraud continue to rise.
“Canadians reported losses of about $100 million last year and that’s because only five per cent of the victims report the fraud. Losses would be closer to $2 billion if all frauds were reported.”
Wang says senior residents and people under the age of 25 have a higher rate of being a victim of fraud, but anyone is vulnerable.
Victims of fraud should contact their financial institution and credit card company and go over their transactions to ensure they are legitimate. If the victim believes their account has been breached, the institution can close all accounts, cards and online banking and set up new ones.
The institutions can also freeze and monitor the accounts for any fraudulent activity. Wang says staff are also trained to ask questions if unusual activities are being done for a person’s account. An example would be wiring money to a different country when the individual has never done that before.
She says they may be able to retrieve the funds if it is through a wire or e-transfer. However, she says the only fraud not covered by any insurance company or financial institution is friendly fraud.
“Friendly fraud is when you give your banking information or any information to somebody that you do trust and they breach that trust.”
Another form of fraud is identity theft. If an individual believes their identity has been stolen, they should contact RCMP immediately.
“Contact your local RCMP and get a copy of your credit report from TransUnion or Equifax. That will show if anybody has applied for credit in your name and if there is any balances outstanding.”
Wang reminds residents to never provide their SIN number or banking information and to hang up instead of engaging with the fraudsters. She says the CRA will never ask for funds through the phone and will contact residents through mail if there are any problems.